In gaming, much like other activities, difficulty breeds competition. Ever since the era of quarter-eating arcade machines, gamers have been competing to see who can get the highest score, most kills, least deaths, or fastest completion. There are plenty of people, myself included, that find this frustrating when a single try can take several minutes or even hours to complete. This is 10 Second Ninja X’s strength. Since each level must be completed in 10 seconds, trying over and over again doesn’t feel all that bad. Personally, I really enjoy the 10 second mechanic as it allows me to get high scores without having to dedicate a ton of time to perfecting every detail. If I fail, I just use another 10 seconds. Now this has benefits for everybody, but I did notice one downside. Simply put, it only took me roughly 6-8 hours to 3 star all 100 levels in the game. 100 levels is quite a lot, but when they only take 10 seconds, you can complete them a little too quick.
Before the thought that this brings the game down sets in, I want to point out that there is more to the game than just the initial 100 levels. Sort of. After getting 3 stars on every level in a world, you unlock it’s Marathon Mode stage. In this mode, you will play all 10 levels (8 if it’s a ‘Legacy’ world) of a world in order. To get the highest score, you must earn 3 stars on all 10 (or 8) levels without dying or resetting. If this sounds daunting, then congrats, because it sure is. I attempted a few runs through Marathon Mode and realized I have a lot of practicing to do before I can hope to reach that X rank on any of the worlds.
Other than Story and Marathon Mode, there are two other mini games. These are Kat’s Crate Smash and a secret game I’ll let you find for yourself. The secret game is actually a reward for finding all 9 fragments of a broken disc and taking them back to a TV to play the game. It’s a little beat ’em up game where you want to reach the highest score before you die. Kat’s Crate Smash is actually available fairly early in the game and is played for one of the most useful tools in the whole game. When you meet Kat, you’re given the option to play her memory game. If you can remember which crate was the one (or two or three) with the check mark, you win 5 tokens. These tokens are then used in normal levels to give the player a ‘hint’. These hints are really just a ghost running the course so you can see how it’s done for the fastest time. I won’t lie, I had to use the hint system, more times than I’m happy with, but it did help me to get many of my fastest times.
When you aren’t running, jumping, slicing and shurikening your way through various levels, you may decide to explore the ship you’re on. To me, the ship and it’s contents hold some of the best examples of how much care the developers took with this games look and sound. With each level only being 10 seconds, it becomes difficult to truly enjoy your surroundings. But on the ship, you have all the time you could want to look around, find secret rooms, and meet new people. I won’t talk too much about the people as I feel you should get to know them for yourself, but two you’ll meet very early on are Captain Greatbeard and Benji. Captain Greatbeard is our Ninja’s nemesis, and acts as such, scheming ways to humiliate the Ninja while maintaining quite a great beard. Benji, on the other hand, likes the Ninja and just wants to be his friend. This gets a little obnoxious later on, but ultimately I like Benji and I think you will too. The dialogue each NPC has helps to cement their character and make them feel three dimensional.
I want to pay extra attention to the details in 10SNX’s looks and sounds. While on the ship, you might realize that the ship has boards, stairs, masts, crow nests, and flags. That’s just the outside, with the scrolling background and wind effects. Inside you can find wallpaper, chandeliers, pipes, and curtains in the different rooms. To compliment all these areas, a different tune is played in quite a few of the rooms. For example, the Greatbeard Arcade has a very light, fun tune playing while the Ship Deck has a fast paced beat playing that makes you want to go on an adventure. My point is that the music played around the ship always seems to fit the mood of that area of the ship.
With it’s fast, responsive, and rewarding gameplay, 10 Second Ninja X will keep fans of this type of game busy for a few hours. If it weren’t for two things, I would give the game a perfect score. But sadly, while I was playing, my retries were plagued with an obnoxious glitch that caused my character to shake violently and force me to retry again. If this had only happened a few times, I wouldn’t mind, but it would occur every time I tried to move too soon after retrying. My other gripe wouldn’t matter either if there were just an option to turn it off, but since there isn’t, I have to say that the whole screen flashing each time an enemy is defeated made many levels far more difficult than they needed to be. In a game all about speed and precison, any break in concentration can mean the difference between perfection and complete failure. Speaking of perfection, I can’t think of many ways this game can be improved and that’s awesome.
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